updated 10:00 pm EDT, Mon April 23, 2012
comScore sees smartphone take hold in Japan
Smartphones have broken the reign of the traditional Japanese cellphone for the first time, comScore found late Monday. As of February, smartphones were overall more popular than keitais, the often feature-heavy but complicated basic phones that have dominated Japanese use for more than a decade. Local brands like Sharp still led at 23.5 percent, but they were either flat or down slightly as frequently foreign smartphone brands took hold.
While Android was the dominant choice given Japanese makers' support, it was the iPhone that was growing faster. Google had gained very slightly to reach 61.4 percent, Apple grew by 1.3 points to 34.2 percent. Sustained demand after the iPhone 4S launch, and the addition of KDDI as the second iPhone carrier, helped close some of the gap.
Microsoft has the third largest platform, but its rapid decline paralleled that of the US, taking it from 5.7 percent in November to 3.9 percent in February.
The Japanese cellphone field has typically been insular and, in the past, had focused mostly on localized features like 1Seg over-the-air TV tuning and FeliCa mobile payments. The two remain common, but 3G and 4G Internet access have either replaced these features or have been enough to outweigh the features when they're absent.